After a year of investigations, accusations and a successful election, 13th Legislative District Rep. Matt Manweller resigned in December, clearing the way for county Republicans to nominate his successor.

Manweller was fired from is position as a political science professor at Central Washington University in August. Later that month, an 85-page report was released by the university which detailed allegations of sexual harassment from 15 female students and former students.

The investigation

The report, which was put together by attorney Trish Murphy hired by CWU, included allegations of “looking at the bodies of female students and former students,” physical touching, communications with sexual or romantic overtones, offering educational benefit in exchange for sex, asking inappropriate personal questions and unwelcome or inappropriate attention.

The investigation concluded that Manweller engaged in a pattern of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior with gender-based and sexual overtones with female students and former students from 2004 to 2017.

In Manweller’s termination letter written by College of the Sciences Dean Tim Englund, Englund outlined why Manweller was fired, including an “ongoing failure to maintain acceptable standards of professional ethics and conduct in accordance with the ‘Professional Responsibilities’ and ‘Conflicts of Interest’ provisions’” of his faculty contract.

Also, Manweller was told to refrain from contacting students while on paid administrative leave, and the investigation turned up several instances of him asking interviewees about the investigation in text messages and through Facebook.

Englund wrote despite only receiving a written reprimand after to a 2012 investigation in which a student accused Manweller of calling her into his office, proposing oral sex, then touching her knee and kissing her, he remained concerned that Manweller does not understand boundaries and how to maintain those boundaries.

Election

In September, Republican leaders in the House called for Manweller to resign after The Northwest News Network reported that a former Idaho high school student of Manweller’s said she had a sexual relationship with him in the 1990s, when she was 17.

Despite his termination, the investigation, and news reports from alleged victims, Manweller recorded a decisive victory over Democrat Sylvia Hammond, winning 64 percent of the votes to Hammond’s 36 percent.

Following Manweller’s announcement in the fall that he would not fill the seat if re-elected, the Republican Party precinct committee officers in the 13th District put a call out for applicants for the position and interviewed those who applied.

The committee officers selected three individuals to be considered for the position:

  • Danny Stone, a wheat farmer in Lincoln and Grant counties, who has also spent 28 years as a pastor. Stone previously ran for state House’s 12th district seat, and served as the Precinct Committee Officer for the Grant County Republican Party.
  • Alex Ybarra, a former engineer and scientist with the Rocket Research Company in Redmond. Originally from Quincy, he now serves on the Quincy School Board and is its legislative representative. He also is a Governor Appointed Commissioner on the Commission on Hispanic Affairs and a Board Director for the Washington State School Board Association..
  • Ian Elliot, a former state lawmaker who has lived in Kittitas County since 2004. He most recently represented Kittitas County on the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council.

The three will be considered at a meeting of the county commissioners from each of the four counties in the 13th District. A date for that meeting has not yet been set.

Comments

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.